Commonwealth Sugar Agreement

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture, Fisheries and Food – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 18th April 1972.

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Photo of Mr Edward Milne Mr Edward Milne , Blyth 12:00 am, 18th April 1972

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what arrangements have been made for the continuance of the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement following negotiations between the European Economic Community, Mauritius and other Common wealth sugar-producing countries.

Photo of Mr James Prior Mr James Prior , Lowestoft

Detailed arrangements for Commonwealth sugar after the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement expires at the end of 1974 will be negotiated between the enlarged Community and the Commonwealth countries concerned, within the framework of the assurances already given by the Community.

Photo of Mr Edward Milne Mr Edward Milne , Blyth

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that he is being less than truthful in his answer? Meetings have already taken place between the Commonwealth sugar-producing countries and the EEC, and the Commonwealth countries are alarmed by the wide discrepancy between the attitude of the EEC in relation to their future and the statement made in this House by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster following the negotiations. Will the right hon. Gentleman stop hoodwinking the Commonwealth countries and the British public on this matter?

Photo of Mr James Prior Mr James Prior , Lowestoft

The hon. Gentleman is under a misapprehension. It is true that Mauritius has recently completed negotiations with the EEC to accede to the present Yaoundé Convention, but that specifically excludes sugar, for which the arrangements are exactly the same as they were before.

Photo of Mr Neil Marten Mr Neil Marten , Banbury

Will my right hon. Friend read again President Pompidou's television broadcast of 11th April, in which he said: Tomorrow Europe will be in a zone of privileged prosperity in the world. Will my right hon. Friend bear that in mind and say that he equally wants Mauritius to be in a zone of prosperity in the world?

Photo of Mr James Prior Mr James Prior , Lowestoft

That is why we went to such enormous trouble—with, I thought, my hon. Friend's concurrence—to negotiate a settlement which was very favourable indeed to the Commonwealth sugar producers.

Photo of Mr Alf Morris Mr Alf Morris , Manchester Wythenshawe

Is the Minister prepared now to seek ratification with the EEC of the Lancaster House agreement with the Commonwealth sugar producers?

Photo of Mr James Prior Mr James Prior , Lowestoft

The Lancaster House agreement was accepted by the EEC. It was also accepted by all the Commonwealth sugar-producing countries. I prefer to accept their acceptance rather than the hon. Gentleman's.